Pastor Tom Grantham
What should you look for in a church? Most of us have had to consider that question at one time or another. It may be because we relocated into a new area. You may have recently become a Christian and are looking at this issue for the first time. God leads us from one church to another as our needs change, and as His plans for us develop.
I have heard many different criteria mentioned by people making a decision - convenient location, youth activities, music style, times of worship services, version of the Bible used, etc.. But I would like to suggest to you that there are three main things you should look for in selecting a church.
1 - A church where you can worship.Our primary reason for attending church as a Christian is to worship the Lord. The church you choose should be one that emphasizes the Lordship of Christ, and leads its members to worship Him. You should certainly feel that Christ is the center of attention during the worship services - not the preacher, the singers or other participants. The progression of the service should not only invite us to worship, but should inspire us to worship. Different people worship in different ways. But you should choose a church where you feel comfortable worshipping, where you do not feel inhibited or intimidated by how others may or may not be worshipping. God accepts worship in many forms. (I think this is one of the reasons why there are many churches!). Find a church that allows you to express your worship to God freely and motivates you to express your worship to God consistently!
2. - A church where you can grow. You should always look for a church where you can grow and mature in your Christian walk. There should be an emphasis on the teaching and preaching of the Word of God, the Bible. There should be a commitment on the part of the church leadership to the fundamental truths of Scripture, and an active program for training and discipling its members. You should at different times feel encouraged, challenged, enlightened and/or convicted by the teaching and preaching you hear. You should get the sense that you are growing closer to the Lord and more like what He would have for you to be. This is an important consideration for all Christians, but especially for new Christians and young people. Parents should give special consideration to making sure their children are being grounded in sound Biblical teaching.
3 - A church where you can serve. The Christian life is essentially a life of service. Unfortunately, many people seek a church looking for what they can "get" instead of what they can "give". Some even seek a place that's big enough to "hide" - where they won't be noticed, singled out, called on or recruited! But the fact of the matter is, if you are a Christian, you have been called into service."For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10. The church you choose should be one where you can utilize the gifts and talents that God has given to you in ministering to others.
Finally, always pray and seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in making any significant decisions, especially those of a spiritual nature. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
God bless you in your decision!
Pastor Paul Shin
Paul Shin is the pastor of Purpose Mission Church, an outreach of Purpose Baptist Church that is geared towards the growing Korean population in the Lee County area.